2007-08-31 / Letters

How Many Junk Stores?

Dear Editor,

As a former Belle Harbor resident with family history dating back over 100 years in the community, I had the opportunity this past summer to spend three weeks visiting family and reconnecting with old Rockaway friends. It is amazing how easy it is to slip back into the Rockaway lifestyle, get sand between the toes, and make new memories with my two young children.

So many positive changes with all the new homes, the revitalized efforts from the Parks department regarding summer programs, and the expansion of all activities from the Rockaway organizations dedicated to music, arts and sports. On the other hand, the disappointment regarding the aesthetics of Beach 116 Street is something not to be ignored.

Yes, some merchants and the MTA are giving it a valiant effort but the majority have a long way to go, especially the area from the Sand Bar to the subway. How many junk stores are really needed?

Why is it that all the merchandise on the sidewalk limits pedestrian traffic? The stench of garbage is absolutely unforgivable for a downtown center that could easily be something beautiful and unique to a seaside town. I beseech the politicians and community organizations to make a stronger effort, unite forces and become the "true" change agents" Rockaway needs to restore luster and dignity to the main shopping area. Newcomers to the community are paying high dollars for the privilege of living in the Rockaways.

Isn't it time that Rockaway extends the incredible beauty of the shoreline to their vital center of commerce and give something prideful back to the residents???

MARIA LAGAMBA GELPHMAN

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